The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has released an impactful new video, which aims to bring awareness to the issue of how parents are affected by loan sharks. The short dramatic video, produced by Birmingham-based Voiceboxx: The Agency, shows the devastating effect of illegal money lending, and is part of a larger campaign to raise awareness of the rights of victims, and the help available to them.

Research shows that 50% of loan shark victims are parents of children.  This new video has been released to coincide with #mymoneyweek and shows the distressing impact of illegal money lending on parents and children.  Help, advice and support is readily for anyone who believes that they may have been the victim of a loan shark.

To see the video and download the stop loan sharks free education resources, visit  To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 or text a report to 078600 22116.

This year’s Annual Public Health Report for Northumberland focuses on the wider (or social) determinants of health - the so called ‘causes of the causes’. It explains how the unmet needs in communities (deprivation) are measured and why that may not effectively reflect the challenges facing rural communities.  It also describes some of the demographic challenges facing the county in terms of the urban/rural split. The report explores education, employment, housing and transport as wider determinants of health in more detail and outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of the impact of these determinants in the rural context. It also identifies the contribution that the NHS may make to addressing issues around the wider determinants of health. The Council already recognises many of the challenges of rurality and examples of some of the initiatives that are already in place have been showcased.

Finally, the report highlights some of the opportunities that may be presented through, for instance, North of Tyne devolution and makes a small number of recommendations on how the Northumberland system can contribute to improving health and wellbeing through action on these wider determinants.

Download the report.

Healthwatch Northumberland is working with NHS England get the people of Northumberland’s views on alternative ways to have a consultation with their GP or other practice-based health professionals online.  Rather than attending in person – Healthwatch is referring to this as ‘online consultations’. 
Online consultations are a way for patients to contact their GP practice without having to wait on the phone or take time out to come into the practice.  Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can contact your practice about a new problem or an ongoing issue.  You can ask questions or tell your GP about your symptoms.  The practice will ensure your contact is dealt with by the right person in the team, helping ensure you are served as quickly and appropriately as possible.  Sometimes this will mean you will need a phone call with the GP or nurse, or an appointment at the practice and this will be arranged as usual.
Lots of people are already using practice websites to make an appointment, get test results, order a repeat prescription or to view their summary records, so this is a simply a further service being made available to current systems.
Healthwatch wants to find out what you think about using online consultation with your GP practice (not about hospital appointments).  This short survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete and we would really like to hear what you think. The survey is open from Tuesday 08 May and closes on Friday 15 June 2018. You can find out much more about the programme on the NHS England website – including a link to an online survey to give us your views 
For more details about this research project, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Government is currently asking views on the vision set out in the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper – to build strong integrated communities where people of all backgrounds live, work, learn and socialise together.
We all have our own opinions and experiences of integration, and integration means different things for different communities, organisations and individuals.  This is your chance to let government know what it means and why it matters to you.
The consultation – accessible on Survey Monkey and through an online form – is open until 5 June.  All you need to do is fill in the survey, which takes no longer than 10 minutes.  This is a chance for you to make your views heard to Government.


The impact of funeral poverty can be financial, in the form of a legacy of debt but it can also be emotional in the form of the distress, shame and the perceived stigma of not being able to provide a ‘decent send-off’ for someone we love. More people struggle to cover the cost of a funeral than you might think - almost one in five of us. Worrying about money is the last thing you want when you’ve lost someone. 
The taboos around death and money can put people off talking to each other about paying for a funeral but there is a need to start doing this. Funeral costs have spiralled - 80% in the last ten years. At the same time Government grants, which used to cover the cost of a basic funeral for people on low incomes, have eroded and now fall way short of the overall bill.
This briefing note has been put together as a basis for discussion around the subject of funeral poverty and to consider if there are actions that could be taken.